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Author Topic: The Consultation is On!  (Read 1668 times)
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« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2018, 09:27:30 am »

The average train journey (a few years back) was 20 miles [[not sure how that was calculated]], compared to 6 miles by bus.

Where did this data come from, I live in an area which is widely regarded as a dormitory town for Bristol and in the morning and evening peaks we have had "express" bus services to Bristol and from 03 September these are being extended to run all day until early evening with longer duration journeys running until a last bus from Bristol at 23.35 daily. Distance about 12 miles. I could also make a similar repeat statement regarding the town of Thornbury. We also have a, reopened in 1989, rail station from which we have been promised a half hourly rail service in the future, hourly now, how far in the future is in the "lap of the gods" knowing how long it takes the rail organisations to do what is normally viewed as a simple task.

First answer: the rail figures come from ORR, the bus ones from DfT. There's obviously a second answer about how they get them, which for the rail figures is: they divide a year's total national passenger-km by the total national passenger journey count.

The one year I happen to have the ORR stats to hand for is 2014-15, and the average journey length works out to 38 km - at 24 miles that's probably what Graham was remembering (or perhaps for another year). ORR give a breakdown by franchise, which makes it obvious why the figure is what it is - most journeys are commuter ones, or daytime ones over the same routes. Thus the three SR franchises, plus Thameslink, c2c, and LO add up to well over half the journeys, and an average length of 24 km. And that's before adding in the cities outside London, which are part of most franchises: note that Scotrail's average is only 33 km. Of course the two long-distance franchises have much larger average lengths (256 and 199 km) though XC serves so many cities its is only 96 km. GW is mixed, and gives 57 km, while its "twin" GA then had so many commuters (now lost to TfL/XR) its was below the average at 32 km.

As to where those ridership figures come from, I don't have ORR's footnotes (but no doubt they suffer from them) but I'm pretty sure it's ticket sales. Train passenger counts are much less complete and reliable, and even when most trains can count their own passenger load it will take a while to woke out what the numbers really mean. I suspect buses are in theory based on ticket sales, though with most tickets not having a specific journey and some passes not registered electronically it won't be so simple. Operators will have ways of filling in the gaps and the national figures probably just represent the best estimates they have flowed up to DfT statisticians.

Of course average fares and cost per mile will also show the same bias (in a value-neutral sense) towards the biggest concentration of users (or whatever is the divisor). It's not "biased" in the sense of dishonest: if that's what you want to know it's the right answer. But it's not the only answer; there are other averages and you may not want one anyway. And for this consultation, one point to consider is that "revenue neutral" only means what the TOCs want it to if the passenger numbers don't change as a result of any pricing changes. Since TOCs (or "the railways" more generally) use pricing to encourage new passengers or journeys and to time-shift existing ones it's not obvious that's going to be the case.

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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2018, 12:07:30 am »

Condemn me if you wish but I did not take part in the consultation because my days of long distance rail travel looks to be a relic of the past, Glasgow is where I fledge my wings to and when I can get one way fares on Easyjet from / to Bristol for as little as 22.66 to and 24.68 from Scotlands second city then regards competing modes of transport there is "no contest".

I have now moved to within 3 miles of Tiverton Parkway. I thought I would visit my sister in Norwich, and on looking up rail fares thought of a crowd funding approach to pay for the rental of the trains, or maybe purchase. Then I found that Flybe will take me there from Exeter for twenty quid each way.

What should I do?  Grin

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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2018, 07:10:32 am »

If my sister wants me to visit - she pays.   Simple.   (or she pays for the DIY jobs I do when I am there)   Grin
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« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2018, 01:02:57 pm »

Last Wednesday ... RDG meeting / briefing in Bristol - for which the polls here had been very useful informing me.  Sorry about their being a few days delay in the writeup - been manic with one thing and another!

Easier Fares!

Really don't know what to say about the meeting.  Perhaps 15 to 20 of us (3 from RDG) starting off with an introduction telling us that the system dates back to 1995 and that changes since then to regulation and rule have left it even tighter than it was, and even more restricted in what can be done under current government rules that was the case in British Rail days.  Problem highlighted of looking for a system which allows for local requirements of a fare system to be met, and yet requires national (long distance) fares. Also problems of bringing a system that was designed for ticket clerks into the electronic age.

The objective of the consultation is to find a widely supported route forward that reflects future needs. Not necessarily looking for a "one size fits all" solution. And indeed a problem identified in defining what "success" might mean as as outcome.  A recognition that there is unlikely to be a "big bang" type change - rather looking for the start of a process / a long term strategy.

Some 8,000 responses have been received to far to the consultation (at Weymouth yesterday I picked up a flyer from the literature rack, so there is a lot of encouragement out there) ... wanting to encourage over 10k.  Especially "if you have ideas, write them in".   RDG's comments are that this is a "genuine consultation looking for ideas and not just window dressing".

I noted that the consultation asks for ideas which maintain the fare basket income, but the RDG's publicity talks of Cheaper Journeys.   Logical conclusion is that changes should be designed to increase passenger numbers, but no real answer when I asked RDG if that was the intent - more a sheepishness that suggests to me two goals that aren't fully mutually compatible.

Outcomes ... a one off meeting, so no direct follow up.   RDG logged / took away meeting's views to feed into their system / unsure of any level of influence therein.

A common factor is the use of technology to calculate the fares dynamically - in London, all you get is a brief flash of your fare.  While you have a simple(r) system, all stations gated or with readers, a customer base that's familiar with the system for the most part, and maximum fares of an hour or two's pay, people will be and large accept it. Move to a network where a fare can be over 100, with some stations are so small as to make smart readers not cost effective (yes, I am aware of the reader at Breich), and where the current system is so complex that no-one understands it, and it fails to offer the cheapest available journey, and you have a trust problem.  Further, errors even if that are small in percent terms might be big in pound terms.

Discussions on Railcards ...

Interesting discussion on removal of Severn Bridge tolls, and on what that will do to road and rail traffic across the Severn, to road congestion in the Bristol area, and to house prices in the Chepstow area.

TransWilts Rail - Linking North to West and South 9 times a day. [see here]
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